Honkey
bigpoppafc
anybody know where the origin of "honkey" comes from...at least in regards as general slang for a white person?
AdSumADS
I find that it derives from either "hunky" or perhaps [upper-case "H"] "Hunky." It's hard to reconcile, since "honkey" is disparaging but "hunky" tends to be complimentary. So one theory is that it's not "hunky," as in muscular, but "Hunky," short for "Hungarian" and which is an epithet for anyone of eastern European ethnicity.

Alternatively, it might be related to a parody of "hunky-dory" -- as in, those who would use such a term, deemed a corny phrase, and attributed to caucasions' use. Now, another attempt to rationalize would be that the "hunky" of "hunky-dory" derives from "home," but this poses it's own dissonance. To make the point, however, consider that "home-boy" had itself been disparaging, like "school-boy" or, more so, "mamma's boy," referring to one who tended to stay home rather than hang-out (it also rings of "homo'," which is another issue). The complimentary sense of "home-boy" was a somewhat intentional reversal, forming a term of endearment, while "honky" continued in its negative sense. That's all stretching it a bit, but dialect's history isn't particularly clear.

Lewis Joplin II
HONKY OR HONKIE - This derogatory term for white people probably evolved from "hunkies," according to two references. "Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner" by Geneva Smitherman (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1994): "Honky - a negative term for a white person. Probably derived and borrowed from the name-calling and expression of resentment by settled European Americans against central and Eastern Europeans immigrants, who were negatively referred to as 'hunkies' (from Hungarians). Blacks, in competition with these immigrants in the first half of the twentieth century, generalized the term to all whites. Also hunky."

Ditto for "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Fact on File, New York, 1997): "HONKIE; BOHUNK - 'Bohunk,' a low expression for a Polish- or Hungarian-American, arose at the turn of the century, and is probably a blend of Bohemian and Hungarian (both Poles and Hungarians were called Bohemians). 'Bohunks' were also 'hunkies,' and black workers in the Chicago meat-packing plants probably pronounced this as 'honkie,' soon applying it as a derisive term not just for their Polish and Hungarian co-workers but for all whites."

A personal note: in West Virginia "hunkie" means Italian-American.

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